Trump Desperate For a Token Latino Person To Make His Cabinet Diverse

by
Lauren Harwyn
President-elect Donald Trump is continuing a trend of tokenism as he creates a cabinet comprised mostly of white men, but now desperately seeks a Latino member to help his image.

President-elect Donald Trump has so far been building a cabinet comprised mostly of white men, even including a white supremacist, a misogynist, and multiple racists.

After coming under fire for the lack of diversity in his cabinet, he is now scrambling to appoint a Latino member to the Department of Agriculture to give the appearance of diversity.

Tokenism is defined as "the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce." So far, this definition also serves as a textbook description of how Trump has composed his cabinet.

When it came time to appoint an ambassador to Israel, Trump displayed embarrassingly transparent tokenism in his meeting with officials, The Atlantic reports. Trump repeatedly brought up his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and said he would appoint two of his own Jewish friends, even though they are not particularly qualified for their jobs. 

Lisa Spies, who was in charge of Jewish outreach for Mitt Romney's campaign, said of Trump's behavior, "It’s almost degrading to say, just because you’re Jewish, you know this. This is degrading to people who actually do this professionally."

So far, Trump has appointed 16 white men to his cabinet, four women, and one African-American man — Trump's former presidential opponent, Ben Carson.

Read More: Trump's HUD Pick, Ben Carson, Will Be Disastrous For Fair Housing

Politico reports that Trump is now desperate to add a Latino member to the ranks. 

Mario Rodriguez of the Latino PAC, "Hispanic 100," told Politico, "I can tell you now I have spoken to numerous folks on the transition, and they say that he’s absolutely looking for qualified Latinos for a Cabinet post."

Politico states, "Many Hispanic leaders say they are less concerned about having a Cabinet pick than what Trump’s policies could mean, particularly with deportation and a wall along the Mexican border. These people say picking a Hispanic Cabinet member for agriculture could be seen as a token with little real value and liken Trump naming his only black Cabinet member to lead Housing and Urban Development."

Indeed, the tokenism is so obvious as to be offensive with both Carson's appointment and Trump's desire to put a Latino figurehead at the head of American agriculture.

Trump has established many times that he equates African-Americans with urban poverty, lack of education, and "inner city" slums. 

Trump never considered a person of color to head education, homeland security, labor, or defense, making his offer of the agricultural position to Latinos even more of an offensive, token gesture, as though he thinks that Latino politicians are only equipped to address the issues of migrant farm workers.

It seems like Trump is just as racist about Latino-Americans as he is about African-Americans, seeing Latinos only as stereotypical laborers, not as doctors, lawyers, teachers, or leaders.

According to Mother Jones, Trump is currently considering Abel Maldonado, a California farm- and vineyard-owner, who has had a somewhat unsuccessful political career. He has also set his sights on Elsa Murano, a former USDA official and billionaire. Maldonado would continue the trend of Trump appointing relative incompetents to his Cabinet, and Murano would be the latest mega-rich appointee to Trump's team.

After calling Latino immigrants rapists and criminals on the campaign trail, it is rich of Trump to expect Latino politicians to want to work with him. Even if he does find more people of color and women for his cabinet, his actions and beliefs prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gesture is merely a pandering one.

Read More: Trump’s Labor Pick Once Said Labor Shouldn’t Get Breaks

Banner Image Credit: Flickr, Gage Skidmore

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